Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Housesteads Roman Fort

The site of Housesteads Roman Fort and Museum
Due to its remote location, Housesteads, originally called Vercovicium, is the most well-preserved Roman Fort on Hadrian's Wall. It sits high on a hill on a break in the Whin Sill ridge near the very center of the wall (Castle Black, anyone?). Like all other Roman forts, this one was based on a standard design used throughout the Roman empire and included a barracks, granary, hospital, the commander's house, and the fort headquarters. This particular fort has the best preserved Roman latrines in all of Britain that still "flush" as designed. While all Roman forts had a decidedly Mediterranean style with central courtyards open to the sky, they made accommodations for the cool climate by designing radiant heating in the floors. Amazing! By the way, the 6-minute video housed in the small museum adjacent to the site is a must. It does a great job of succinctly describing how the fort was used and what it would have looked like when it was occupied by 800 Roman soldiers during it's heyday. 
The bases of columns are visible
The headquarters building in foreground with a view of the Northumbrian countryside in the background
Barracks once lined this avenue
Showing the design of radiant heated Roman floors.
The Roman latrine - wood bench seats would have lined the walls
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